#12 (The “Remember” Series)
“REMEMBER GOOD EXAMPLES!”
TEXT: Heb. 13:7-8; 12:1-3; 1 Tim. -16; -12
INTRO: We all need heroes or examples to follow. Like it or not we not only look for examples to follow but others are looking at us to be an example. Because we are prone to following examples it is important whom we pick to follow. Children really need and look for examples to follow; this is why they pick heroes from TV. It is important for us to pick examples for them to follow when they are young. We tend to learn more from examples than we do from books!
ILLUS: LIKE THE STORY OF A TV REPAIRMAN WHO LIKED TO LEAVE HIS JOB BEHIND WHEN HE CAME HOME. AS A RESULT, HE NEVER FIXED UP HIS OWN BROKEN TV ANTENNA ON THE ROOF OF HIS HOUSE. ONE DAY, A NEW FAMILY MOVED IN NEXT DOOR AND THE NEW NEIGHBOR WAS ATTEMPTING TO PUT A TV ANTENNA ON HIS ROOF BECAUSE OF POOR RECEPTION. HE REMEMBERED MEETING HIS TV REPAIRMAN NEIGHBOR AND SO DECIDED TO JUST COPY THE WAY THE ANTENNA WAS ON HIS ROOF ... FIGURING HE WAS THE EXPERT TO FOLLOW. HE AIMED THE ANTENNA HE PUT UP THE SAME WAY AS HIS NEIGHBOR BUT THEN NOTICED THAT A PART OF THE ANTENNA HAD AN ARM BROKEN OFF IT, SO HE BROKE HIS THE SANE WAY! THE PROBLEM HOWEVER WAS NOT THE ANTENNA, BUT HIS FAITH IN A BAD EXAMPLE THAT COST HIM THE DAMAGE TO A BRAND NEW ANTENNA! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
It can be critical who we pick as examples to follow, one thing is clear from the Bible – we are to REMEMBER GOOD EXAMPLES! Really, the Bible is a book of both good and bad examples, ones given us to learn from.
More people learn from examples than from books...
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches that we are to both be a good example to others and to take notice of good examples in others. These good examples become important role models for us to learn from and for our children to learn from.
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF MODELS! Heb. 13:7-8; 12:1-3
A. Former 13:7-8
1. While it is true that we are to look only to Jesus for our ultimate example and for guidance and faith it is also important to look for good examples to inspire us to live like Christ calls us to live!
a. The past examples alluded to here is obvious by the phrase: “consider the outcome of their way of life...”
b. God will grant to every generation men and women who will exemplify the love and faith God calls us to.
c. These should be revered as spiritual heroes!
2. A godly example can be worth more than 10 books to some people!
3. Many of these good examples were not household names either, but were known by those to whom this was written.
4. There are many great examples to point to that will never become household names but are worthy of being acknowledged as good examples!
5. The call here is to imitate those who have proved to have lived godly lives.
a. The next verse is often ignored from its context here: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
b. This expression is uttered in the context of the previous verse, thus the meaning is not just on Jesus Christ but the fact that by living godly like the previous good examples – those who imitate them can expect the same God who worked in their lives to work now in these who are called to imitate those past examples!
c. The call also includes those in the future, (us!) that Jesus will work in us as in those spiritual giants in the past!
6. Nothing can be more important than being a GOOD EXAMPLE for our children, this will teach them better than books or words!
GRAHAM DEMONSTRATED THIS VERY WELL WHEN HE WAS ASKED TO SPEAK TO THE
B. Followers Heb. 12:1-3
1. The same thought is followed in 12:1-3 where we are told that we have a “great cloud of witnesses” — we are surrounded by them!
a. This is a reference to all those dead saints who set a great example for us to follow!
b. They are in a sense like the crowd in a great stadium cheering us on while we are still on the playing field of life.
2. The idea here is simple; don’t give up, be encouraged by those good examples who went before us, their examples are meant to be a source of encouragement.
3. The best example mentioned here of course is Jesus Christ Himself, we are to keep our eyes fixed on Him as the goal and follow His lead!
4. We are being encouraged to stay on course, to not get off course; follow the examples of those who stayed the course and witnessed the strength of God in their life!
a. When we ignore the good examples set for us we are likely to make dumb mistakes that can be costly.
ILLUS: LIKE THIS TRUE STORY YEARS AGO. A DOCTOR OF A SMALL TOWN YEARS AGO WAS AWAKENED LATE AT NIGHT BY AN EMERGENCY CALL FROM A HOSPITAL 50-60 MILES AWAY. THEY HAD A SMALL BOY WHO WAS CRITICALLY ILL AND THIS COUNTRY DOCTOR WAS AN EXPERT IN THE TYPE OF INFECTION THAT WAS KILLING THIS BOY. HE WAS ASKED TO COME AT ONCE. THE DOCTOR AGREED TO COME IMMEDIATELY AND SO HE JUMPED IN HIS CAR AND STARTED OUT OF TOWN. AS HE STOPPED AT A TRAFFIC LIGHT HE WAS SUDDENLY TAKEN BY SURPRISE BY A MAN IN A BROWN LEATHER JACKET AND A GREY CAP THAT JERKED HIS CAR DOOR OPEN AND ASKED HIM TO GET OUT, HE WAS STEALING THE CAR. THE MAN HELD A GUN TO THE DOCTOR AND ORDERED HIM OUT IMMEDIATELY ... EVEN THOUGH THE DOCTOR TRIED TO EXPLAIN THE URGENCY OF TRIP. THE MAN PAID NO ATTENTION AND SPED OFF WITH THE DOCTOR’S CAR. THE LAST WORDS OF THIS MAN TO THE DOCTOR WERE, “I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO, GET OUT OR I WILL KILL YOU!” THE FRANTIC DOCTOR TRIED TO FIND A PHONE TO CALL A CAB OR SOMEONE TO HELP HIM, BUT HE COULDN’T FIND ANY, NOT ONE HOUSE HE WENT TO HAD ANYONE HOME. AFTER SEVERAL HOURS OF WALKING HE FINALLY FOUND A HOME WITH A PHONE AND CALLED A CAB. THE CAB TOOK HIM TO THE BUS STATION AND HE WAS ON HIS WAY. HE FINALLY MADE IT TO THE HOSPITAL 2 HOURS LATER THAN HE PLANNED. AS HE MET THE DOCTOR WHO HAD CALLED HIM, HE WAS SADDENED BY WHAT THIS DOCTOR SAID, “I’M GLAD YOU FINALLY MADE IT DOCTOR, BUT IT IS TOO LATE, THE BOY DIED 20 MINUTES AGO; IF YOU HAD NOT BEEN DELAYED YOU COULD HAVE SAVED HIM.” THIS COUNTRY DOCTOR THEN SAID HE WOULD BE HAPPY TO GO AND SPEAK WITH THE FATHER ABOUT THE BOY’S DEATH, BUT HE WAS SHOCKED WHEN HE WALKED INTO THE ROOM TO SPEAK TO THE FATHER AND SAW HE WAS WEARING A BROWN LEATHER JACKET AND A GREY CAP! IT WAS THE MAN WHO HAD STOLEN HIS CAR, AND BY TAKING MATTERS LIKE THIS IN HIS OWN HANDS HE HAD UNKNOWINGLY COST HIS OWN SON HIS LIFE! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
b. With good examples to encourage us we can keep running and not grow weary or lose heart!
II. THE ISSUES OF MODELING 1 Tim. 6:11-12; -16
A. “Flee” 1 Tim. 6:11a
1. What is a good role model? How can we be one as well? These are good questions, ones that are answered by Paul to a young minister named Timothy!
a. A good role model is one that learns to “FLEE” from sin!
b. This doesn’t mean someone who can flirt with sin and then say no, it means someone who runs from sin!
c. The great examples from God’s Word were those who fled when they were tempted to sin!
(1. Men like Joseph who when being seduced by Potiphar’s wife simply turns and runs away!
(2. Those who flirted with sin usually fell into sin – men like David with Bathsheba; Samson who flirted with Delilah; Saul who flirted with selfish desires, etc.
2. Paul is talking about fleeing the things he had just mentioned; “love of money, discontentment, corrupt speech, envy, anger,” etc. (see 6:5-10)
3. Paul is writing to Timothy about being an example to the flock of God!
4. Paul’s invitation is for Timothy to learn to “flee” all sin, not just some sin!
a. The goal should be to not sin at all, not like some today whose goal is not to sin too much!
b. We are to flee all sin!
ILLUS: NOT LIKE
THE MAN YEARS AGO WHO BOUGHT FRIED CHICKEN DINNER FOR HIMSELF AND HIS DATE LATE
ONE AFTERNOON. THEY HAD STOPPED
5. Good models flee all sin, not just some!
6. God give us real heroes of faith, people need them!
B. “Follow” 1 Tim. 6:11b
1. It is not good enough however to just run away FROM something, you must then run TOWARD something!
a. Here Paul tells Timothy to not only “FLEE” sins, but to “PURSUE” or “FOLLOW” righteousness!
b. If you are going to get rid of something it must be replaced with something new!
2. Real godly models not only shun sin they are examples of pursuing righteousness!
3. These are the kind of leaders you want in a church body, examples of those who are very active in being Christlike!
4. These are qualities of character, godly character!
5. We will tend to fall into step behind those we set up as leaders over us, we tend to follow in their footsteps, hence it is important who we make as leaders over us!
ILLUS: A YOUNG PASTOR WAS OFFICIATING AT THE FUNERAL OF A WAR VETERAN. THE DEAD MAN’S MILITARY FRIENDS WISHED TO HAVE A PART IN THE SERVICE AT THE FUNERAL HOME, SO THEY REQUESTED THE PASTOR LEAD THEM DOWN TO THE CASKET, STAND WITH THEM FOR A SOLEMN MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE, AND THEN LEAD THEM OUT THROUGH THE SIDE DOOR. HE PROCEEDED TO DO THIS, AND EVERYTHING WENT FINE UNTIL THEY CANE TO THE “SIDE DOOR.” THE WHOLE SOLEMN MOMENT WAS LOST AS HE LED THE ENTIRE GROUP OF SOLDIERS WHO MARCHED IN LINE BEHIND HIM RIGHT INTO A CLOSET IN FULL VIEW OF EVERYONE GATHERED! IF YOU’RE GOING TO LEAD, KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING, IF YOU ARE GOING TO FOLLOW SOMEONE BE SURE THAT YOU ARE FOLLOWING SOMEONE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION! – SOURCE UNKNOWN
6. Those we follow as examples should be actively demonstrating the pursuit of godliness and not just living off a past experience!
a. Godly character is the mark of real heroes of faith!
b. Even those men in the Bible who made mistakes became heroes because they got up and started to walk in righteousness again!
c. We are to actively follow after righteousness as well as flee from sin!
7. Our kids really need to see this in our lives, they need this kind of modeling from us, they won’t find much of this in the world!
C. “Fight” 1 Tim. ; -16
1. Now Paul mentions the 3rd characteristic of good role models, they are fighters!
2. A good example is one that won’t quit when it gets tough!
a. We are faced with a generation of quitters! If things get too hard we move on to something else!
b. Some have done this with God; as soon as the pressure is on they quit living for the Lord!
3. The great heroes of faith in the past were not quitters! They were fighters!
a. We are described as being at “WAR” with Satan!
b. If you quit in war you lose!
4. We need examples of people who hold on during tough times, it is not easy but necessary!
ILLUS: LIKE HENRY
DEMPSEY WHO WAS FLYING A PLANE WITH A FRIEND FROM
5. God give us fighters, those who will “fight the good fight of faith!”
a. Paul alludes to the time when Timothy had made a confession of faith in the sight of many witnesses!
b. His point is simple, don’t let them down, he is an example, be a good one!
6. While we need to be careful not to look at men too much there still is some validity in looking to those who have been role models of righteousness and for us to consider the call to be good examples to others!
7. Timothy was to be a good example to the flock of God, as a leader he was to take seriously the role of modeling!
a. We need to give this next generation good role models, men and women of faith who FLEE, FOLLOW, AND FIGHT!
b. Remember good examples!
c. Become a good example for others to remember!
CONCLUSION: The greatest impact on people is not always found in books or computers ... it is found in examples! The world doesn’t need more knowledge, more books, more money, etc. What the world needs is more good examples! Most of what we are today has been shaped by examples – good or bad ones that have come into our lives. Remember good examples! They inspire us to live higher!